Bringing My Work Home: Chili Cook Off Contest

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My regular readers know that Tinsel & Tine feeds my soul, but that I also have a "day gig" that actually allows me to eat!  I've just never revealed what or where it was, but the two parts of my life  intersected last week when I volunteered to judge our office pre-Super Bowl Chili Cook Off Contest.

Here's a little company plug - New Penn Financial

We had 5 entries - (see pic above)
#1 "MD Call Center Chili" recipe by Dave Auer / chef Sebastian DiPino
#2 "Chili Con Awewome" recipe/chef  Matthew Lynch
#3 "Awesome Chili" recipe/chef Melissa Miller
#4 "Paay Bhaaji (Indian Chili)" recipe/chef Prashant Shekhar
#5 "Nick Nahr’s last stand" recipe/chef Jim Hurst

Here's a bit of Food in Film Fun (see video below) - chili scene from the 2007 comedy 
The Brothers Solomon with Will Arnett and Will Forte

Let me introduce our panel of judges (lft to rt)
Nathan Trunfio, Denise Widmeier, Me, Colin Williams & Dominick Chillemi

I wish I could say we fussed and argued and cussed with each other. We could have been divas, bad tempered, whinny, snarky or clueless, but I have to say, there wasn't a Simon, Christina, Adam, Nicki or Britney among us.

There was a possible sabotage among the contestants, as someone unplugged Sebastian's crockpot before the tasting, making it necessary for his chili to be microwaved, instead of bubbling hot like the others, but the investigation into who may have pulled the plug is still ongoing.

Fraternizing and Sampling While We Deliberated
Going down the line we all pretty much agreed:
  •  #1 - hearty and delicious, but undecided about the use of sausage as its secret ingredient.
  • #2  - traditional, good n' smokey, burn the back of your throat spicy hot!!!  
  • #3 - sweet, full-bodied, smooth, loved the vegetarian beans. 
  • #4 -  hard to judge it with the others as it was so far from being a traditional chili, but we were pleased with the texture, the tiny chopped up vegetables and  the nice mix of indian spices.
  • #5 traditional and rich, it just needed an extra day to sit and have the spices really blend into the chili, the seasoning was just a little bland.

And our winner was .... insert drum roll here...

                 Melissa Miller Chili Contestant #3!

Melissa works in our Closing Department.
She makes this chili recipe for her family at least once a month. Her husband loves it!
And the sweet flavor of the chili also makes it a crowd–pleaser for her two young children.
This was the first contest entry for Melissa's Awesome Chili,
for us judges, it lived up to it's name.

~ Melissa's Recipe for Awesome Chili ~
 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (but I usually just cover the bottom of the pot with it)
4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon(...and don't even think about draining the grease...if you want something healthy...then don't make this chili :)
2 LBS. ground beef
1 Onion (larger the better)
3 cloves of garlic ( or you can just throw a bunch of the minced in)
4 TBSP Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper
1-29 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP hot sauce (optional)
1 can Beef stock (or 2 cups if you pour from the box)
2 cans Pinto beans

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy and fat renders. Add the beef and cook, stirring until browned. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, chili powder, salt & pepper. Add all remaining ingredients (tom. sauce, worch. sauce, brown sugar, beef stock & beans) and stir. (Toppings: Sour cream-I throw a dollop in each bowl (optional), Pepper Jack cheese/ or just plain old cheddar cheese if you prefer.
Cook on low until thick(er). Serve it up baby! Total time is about 30-40 minutes to prepare.
 I am not responsible for any after effects :)
 If you have a "winning" chili recipe that you'd like to share with Tinsel & Tine readers, send it to me and I'll post it on our facebook page.

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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